Lights, Camera, Action: Clinton Hitches a Ride to Work

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

SOUTH BEND, IND. -- Today, Hillary Clinton will use a campaign gimmick to highlight the increasing cost of fuel and the impact on everyday working people: she'll hitch a ride to work with a local voter.

The campaign announced late yesterday that Jason Allen Wilfing, who commutes a long distance to get to work and is having trouble keeping up with soaring gas prices, will pick up Clinton at her hotel, drive her to where he works, stopping first fill up his tank with Clinton at a gas station along the way.

It is clear that the image of Clinton traveling to the gas station is of great importance to the campaign, emphasized only through the immense effort undertaken to secure media coverage of Clinton's trip, including having a separate car that will house a camera crew and producer to cover the commute for all five major television networks. The traveling press was also pre-positioned at the the gas station to make sure there is plenty of coverage of Clinton pumping gas. But the image loses its validity when you start to see the big picture.

It is unclear if the hotel where Clinton is staying is actually on the way for Wifling's commute to work. Also, he won't be able to simply pick her up at the hotel since driving around the former First Lady to work is no small measure.

A Secret Service agent will also be riding inside the vehicle. The vehicle Wifling will be driving is not even his own, it belongs to his boss, as that car was favored by Secret Service. Also, the truck will not just cruise down the streets of South Bend alone, it will also be accompanied by a slew of police vehicles and unmarked Secret Service cars. Not exactly a typical commute to work for most people.

It is unclear when the last time was when Clinton pumped her own gasoline. In fairness, Clinton has mentioned on the stump remembering what it was like to wait hours in line during the fuel shortage of the late 1970s, but ever since her life in public service, from First Lady of Arkansas to First Lady of the U.S., Clinton has been driven around in a motorcade that consists of more than 10 vehicles at times.

The broader point Clinton is trying to make is that with the average price of gas in America reaching an all time high of $3.60 per gallon (although it is $3.75 per gallon at the Marathon gas station here) many people find themselves in a pinch having to pay for gas simply to get to work.

But maybe instead of showcasing the point of having to lower gas prices by convoying a mass of SUV's and other security vehicles to a gas station, a simple line in her stump highlighting that point could have been more effective, if not more energy efficient.
  • Fernando Suarez

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